|Consider the Firefly / A New Creation Through God’s Spirit of Power
|This Week in the News
|Why was David called a man after God’s own heart?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Consider the Firefly / A New Creation Through God’s Spirit of Power
On May 27, 2023, Brian Gale will present the sermonette, titled, “Consider the Firefly,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “A New Creation Through God’s Spirit of Power.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
PENTECOST, Sunday, May 28, 2023: Live services will be broadcast at 12:30 pm Pacific Time. Dave Harris will present the Offertory, titled, “Extra,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “The Firstfruits.”
by Thilo Hanstein
What if we were no longer tested by God?
Most of us, if not all, have realized and understood how hard life can be as a true Christian, although we are not to be ungrateful for what God does for us.
God called us through His grace out of this corrupt world, to have no longer any part in its sins, because God wants to bestow on us the most beautiful eternal life.
Therefore, we should have understood that we are only pilgrims or aliens in this world, who are on the way to enter the glory of God very soon. But it depends on us, on each one of us, whether we become or are worthy to inherit the Kingdom of God. Nobody can take away the sins of anybody else or live their life. Everyone is responsible for himself or herself!
At times, life can appear to us as a torment, filled with suffering, drenched in resentment and despair. And then we might ask ourselves, “How long do I have to watch this suffering or endure it myself?” And if not remedied immediately, one might ask, “What have I done wrong to have to experience such plagues?”
Questions upon questions, which seem to have no answer. At the same time, the answer might be right in front of us, but we may not always want to admit it and ignore it instead; because we no longer want to be confronted with these problems around us or in ourselves, since problems may not give us any joy. However, there is an answer for many problems, and the greatest answer for some of our problems is “chastening!”
Paul told the Hebrews: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Peter also tells us something very crucial: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Peter then goes on to say: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).
Enduring trials or chastening means, being obedient to God and Jesus Christ. We constantly point out that it is not an easy path, but it gives us peace and happiness, joy, and true friends. And if we all try a little harder, perhaps one can share the burden with someone else. As Paul put it in such a beautiful way:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
One does not always have to stand alone with one’s worries, one’s trials or chastisements; it is good if we can help, support, and share each other’s burdens.
Then again, what if we were no longer tested by God?
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15:10: “Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die.”
And Paul knew perfectly well: “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).
So, if we are suffering, it may very well be that God wants to test and educate us, and to strengthen us for the hard times that are soon to come. God treats us in the way children should be educated. For this we can and must be grateful as well.
Initial Translation: Daniel Blasinger
by Norbert Link
We begin with a telling report about the decreasing belief of many Americans in the existence of God; the ongoing collapse of America’s bank branches; the fight surrounding the debt ceiling; a ridiculous “travel advisory” for Florida; DeSantis’ “disastrous” announcement that he will be running for President; and the unrepentant conduct of the FBI; as well as “Biden’s major mistake.”
We continue with another turn-around by America and Western nations regarding military and financial help for Ukraine in the face of increasing objection; and Hungary’s fierce stance against the EU. We also address the most recent secretive Bilderberg meeting in Portugal.
We speak on further plans for the erection of the Third Temple in Jerusalem and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s controversial visit to the Temple Mount. Please view in this regard our new StandingWatch program, titled, “More Plans for the Third Temple.”
We address further worldwide efforts to move away from the US dollar and report on a new constitution for the “Vatican City State.”
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
Faith Declines in the USA
The Hill wrote on May 22:
“Only half of Americans now say they are sure God exists… Not quite 50 percent of Americans say they have no doubt about the existence of God, according to the 2022 survey… As recently as 2008, the share of sure-believers topped 60 percent…
“That is not to say Americans are not spiritual. Nearly three-quarters of people believe in life after death…
“Mainline Protestantism, the backbone of faith in many American communities, is ‘collapsing’… nearly 15 percent of the population reports no religious upbringing…”
With these figures, there is no wonder that the USA is collapsing.
US Bank Branches Collapse
MSN wrote on May 21:
“Bank branches are going the way of video stores and pay telephone booths, and there’s nothing financial consumers can do about it.
“In Philadelphia, Wells Fargo has closed 17% of its local bank branches since 2020. Regional kingpin PNC is not far behind, shuttering 15% of its branches in the Philadelphia area… Bank of America has gotten into the act, closing 5% of its physical locations in the region, as well.
“Big banks are closing branches in New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, Washington, D.C., Illinois, and Michigan, as well as out west in Nevada, California, and Arizona… If the trend of current bank branch closings continues there may be no bank branches left in 10 years…
“This aggressive drawdown of in-person service will have negative consequences everywhere – but especially in rural, lower-income, and majority-minority communities…”
It’s plain stupidity. Whatever ignorant, corrupt and greedy people and companies can do to accelerate the downfall of the USA!!!
The Fight Surrounding the Debt Ceiling
AFP wrote on May 24:
“The White House and Congressional Republicans are still locked in crunch talks to try and avert the first debt default in US history, which Treasury officials have warned could come as soon as June 1. The U.S. borrows more than it brings in through taxes, and so Congress periodically has to authorize an increase to the US debt limit, known as the debt ceiling, which currently sits at more than $31 trillion.
“While the probability that policymakers fail to lift or suspend the debt ceiling remains low, the risks of the United States stumbling into a situation where it cannot meet all its financial obligations — known as the ‘X-date’, rises with every day that passes.
“If the US Treasury hits the debt ceiling and — as many analysts predict — it prioritizes debt repayments, it will be forced to pause spending on federal programs that provide crucial financial support to tens of millions of Americans… Deferring payments, even for a few days, could have severe consequences for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs which help tens of millions of people with pension and healthcare costs…
“On June 1, for instance, the Treasury is due to make a payment of $47 billion to Medicare providers, with $25 billion in Social Security payments due the following day. Further such payments are scheduled over the next few days. Past and present military personnel would also likely be hit if the US misses the X-date, as a large share of their pay and benefits are paid on the first of the month…
“Pausing or delaying payments may help the US government survive a few days on the other side of the X-date, but it will only work for so long. If the tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats continues, the federal government may need to consider an even less palatable scenario: choosing which bills to pay and which to skip. Such an eventuality could have severe knock-on effects for the most vulnerable Americans, including pensions going unpaid, healthcare providers refusing to take care of patients with Medicare or Medicaid, and insurance premiums rising…
“With many of the Treasury’s options after the X-date unpalatable to politicians on both sides of the aisle, both parties are backing the talks between Biden and McCarthy, and hoping negotiators can secure a deal before then.”
Fox News added on May 24:
“It appears very unlikely there is any chance to get a deal on the debt ceiling over the next couple of days.”
“Travel Advisory for Florida”?
Newsmax wrote on May 21:
“The NAACP, the liberal civil rights organization, over the weekend issued a travel advisory for Florida warning potential tourists that recent laws and policies championed by DeSantis and Florida’s Republican-held supermajorities in the state legislature are ‘openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.’
“The move appears part of a growing leftwing effort to censor and boycott government states, organizations and companies that disagree with woke ESG and other ‘inclusion’ policies.
“‘What a joke,’ DeSantis said in response during a speech Sunday. ‘We’ll see how effective that is. You know, just remember, during COVID, these people would be on CNN and all this stuff, slamming Florida, saying we were so bad, don’t go to Florida, and then they would end of being spotted on the beach somewhere, vacationing in Florida.’…
“The NAACP… joined the League of United Latin American Citizens… and Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group, in issuing travel advisories… The liberal civil rights organizations also said DeSantis’ efforts to ban promotion of gay and transsexual lifestyles in elementary schools contributed to their decision.”
This is SO ludicrous and blatantly hypocritical! BUT, the promotion of gay and transsexual lifestyles in elementary schools should be banned!
DeSantis Announced His Candidacy for President
The Associated Press reported on May 24:
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday with firm words but a disastrous Twitter announcement that did little to counter criticism that the 44-year-old Republican may not be ready to take on former President Donald Trump. While he tried to project confidence, DeSantis’ unusual decision to announce his campaign in an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk ultimately backfired. The audio stream crashed repeatedly, making it virtually impossible for most users to hear the new presidential candidate in real time…
“In choosing Twitter on Wednesday evening, DeSantis tried to take a page out of the playbook that helped turn businessman-TV celebrity Trump into a political star. It did not go as planned…
“DeSantis, who likely would not have become the Florida governor without Trump’s endorsement, has adopted the former president’s fiery personality, his populist policies and even some of his rhetoric and mannerisms… Aware of DeSantis’ draw, Trump has been almost singularly focused on undermining his political appeal for months. Trump and his team believe that DeSantis may be Trump’s only legitimate threat for the nomination….”
At this point, Trump has a 31-point lead over DeSantis. According to CNN, 53 percent of Republicans support Trump.
Unrepentant FBI Gets an “F”
On May 21, the New York Post published the following article by Miranda Devine:
“It’s been a horrendous week for the FBI. With its credibility already at rock bottom, each day brought a fresh scandal, and yet from the bureau’s unctuous public statements, there is no remorse…
“Here are the top scandals of the week:
“1) The Durham report. Here is the official record, for the history books, that the FBI’s ‘Russia collusion’ investigation was cooked up by Hillary Clinton to denigrate Donald Trump by tying him to Russia ‘as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server’ — and that, despite knowing it was bogus, the FBI went ahead and launched the ill-fated Crossfire Hurricane investigation, while dropping four probes into the Clinton Foundation…
“2) On Thursday, three wrongfully suspended FBI employees testified to the House weaponization subcommittee about the shocking abuses they observed, and the vicious retaliation they suffered from the bureau after they made protected whistleblower complaints… The three men accused the FBI of targeting Catholics, pro-life groups and parents attending school board meetings; of cooking the books on domestic terrorism; of unconstitutionally using SWAT teams to intimidate nonviolent January 6 suspects; of investigating Americans for nothing more than taking a bus to Washington to hear their president speak; of coercing Bank of America to turn over credit card transactions of anyone who came to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, whether they went to the Capitol or not…
“3) On Friday, a FISA court order revealed that the FBI has been misusing a surveillance tool almost 300,000 times in 2020-2021, including doing 23,000 searches on Jan. 6 suspects and 20,000 searches on a congressional candidate’s donors. The FBI also refused to comply with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee to hand over a document alleging that Joe Biden accepted bribes to change US policy while he was VP.
“In the light of just one week of FBI shame, the latest Harvard Harris Poll showing deep public mistrust in the FBI comes as no surprise. Not only do 69% of voters believe the FBI violated its own standards in the Russia collusion probe, 70% are concerned that the bureau will interfere in future elections.
“The FBI is out of control and everyone knows it.”
It would be high time to get rid of the FBI altogether. In the world tomorrow, organizations such as the FBI will not be allowed anymore to exist.
Biden’s Major Mistake?
MSN wrote on May 19:
“… the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Joe Biden want South Carolina to hold the first primary in 2024, but New Hampshire has a law that says it is the rightful first primary. Now it looks like Joe Biden may not even be on the ballot in New Hampshire and that could allow Democrat White House hopefuls Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson to be potential winners of the primary. That would be a big embarrassment for the president…
“… the Biden campaign tried to reward South Carolina Democrats for giving the president his critical primary victory in 2020 that launched him successfully toward the nomination. He and the DNC want South Carolina to hold the first primary and then New Hampshire and Nevada to have their contests on the same day a week later. However, the governor and legislators from the Granite State… say they will not change the law that requires New Hampshire to hold the first presidential primary.
“There’s a June deadline for alleviating this mess, but Democrats in New Hampshire show no signs of changing the statute that requires New Hampshire to be first. Now members of the DNC are thinking of giving New Hampshire more time to decide to do the ‘right thing’ and give in to the ‘wisdom’ of national Democrats. New Hampshire Democrats are indignant. They are going first… and if the DNC wants to have Biden on the ballot, they need to back off and let New Hampshire do what is required by law…’
It would be ironic if Joe Biden would not even be on New Hampshire’s ballot, due to the DNC’s political maneuvering.
F16 Fighter Jets for Ukraine
Business Insider wrote on May 21:
“President Joe Biden said he received ‘flat assurance’ from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Ukraine would not use F-16 fighter jets to attack Russian territory… It’s the latest development marking a drastic shift by US President Joe Biden and US officials, who have long rejected authorizing F-16s in Ukraine… on Friday, the US authorized Western allies to provide F-16 jets to Ukraine to defend itself, assist in training pilots, and possibly send fighter jets from American stockpiles… Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the UK and the Netherlands would build an ‘international coalition’ to help the country procure the fighter jets…
“The US president also announced another $375 million in military assistance to Ukraine to help support its long-running and bloody battle with Putin’s regime.”
These “flat assurances” are of course ridiculous. Biden’s constant change of position is embarrassing and worrisome at the same time. Germany’s inconsequential Chancellor Olaf Scholz jumped on the bandwagon after his “mentor” Biden had a “change of heart”…
Fox News wrote on May 24:
“A drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month was most likely orchestrated by Ukraine, which has conducted a series of attacks on Russian targets, U.S. officials said. Russia has claimed Ukrainian forces attempted to kill President Vladimir Putin in the failed attack on May 3.
“Two drones were used in the ‘assassination attempt’ at the president’s residence within the Kremlin compound, but were disabled by Russian defense systems, Russia said.”
Russia Warns USA and Europe
Newsweek wrote on May 20:
“Russia has warned that the Western supply of F-16 jets to Ukraine presents ‘colossal risks’ following the announcement that the U.S. had agreed that Kyiv could receive the aircraft it has long called for… the F-16s can launch precision bombs guided by laser and are more adept at targeting and destroying enemy ground-based radars.
“Former British intelligence officer Philip Ingram told Newsweek that the F-16 announcement was significant, ‘but it is unlikely we will see them being used in the conflict before the winter… It takes months to convert trained pilots to fly and fight them but it is showing that the West is in for the long haul when it comes to supporting Ukraine,’ he said. ‘They will be in for decisive Ukrainian attacks in 2024…’”
… with no end in sight? But the end is already predetermined… if one understands biblical prophecy.
More Help for Ukraine
Breitbart added on May 20:
“This package [of $375 million in military assistance] is being sent on top of an extra $3 billion worth of aid allocated to Ukraine earlier this month due to a so-called ‘accounting error’. In total, according to the Keil Institute, the U.S. taxpayer has so far paid $46.6 billion in weapons shipments to Ukraine, $26.4 billion in financial aid and $2.9 billion in humanitarian help since last year’s invasion by Russia. The U.S. government under Biden has committed to far more spending on the war-torn country, however, having already committed to over $113 billion, more than the military budget of most nations.
“The staggering amount of cash sent to the former Soviet state for military hardware, weapons, and ammo from America is more than that sent from all the European nations combined, despite the conflict being on the EU’s doorstep…”
Biden’s Ukraine Debacle?
In his latest weekly column, Ron Paul wrote on May 22:
“When the smoke finally clears, President Biden’s Ukraine debacle will go down – along with Afghanistan and Iraq – as one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in US history. Hundreds of thousands have been killed on both sides…
“With Russian control established in the strategic city of Bakhmut over the weekend, the… Ukraine project… looks to be progressing rapidly toward failure… when it comes to endless spending on Project Ukraine, with a few exceptions the two parties are in lockstep. At least when looking at Republican party leadership… After all, 20 years fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan got us…the Taliban in Afghanistan! With a cost of perhaps three trillion dollars. But the military-industrial complex and the think tanks pushing war and the mainstream media glorifying war all got paid well…
“The mainstream media is in a panic over the fact that of the $48 billion appropriated for Ukraine, only $6 billion remains. That won’t be enough to sustain ‘Project Ukraine’ for more than a few weeks… the tide of US public opinion is turning overwhelmingly against [giving] more money [to Ukraine]…”
Sadly, the glorification of war, resulting in the death of many people and the wasting of much money, has never resulted in lasting peace.
Hungary Threatens to Block EU Attempts to Send More Weapons to Ukraine
Breitbart wrote on May 21:
“Hungarian government officials have expressed their fury at Ukraine in recent days, decrying the country as being ‘hostile’ after the country’s alleged plans to blow up an oil pipeline leaked in the Washington Post last week.
“As detailed by the leaks, Zelensky has reportedly been considering an attack on Russia’s Druzhba pipeline that supplies oil to Hungary in what would appear to be an attempt to sabotage the country.
“Kyiv has also blacklisted Hungarian bank OTP, listing the firm as a sponsor of Russia’s invasion, causing further anger in Budapest.
“According to a report by the Associated Press, senior officials in the Hungarian government say that they are blocking EU attempts to send more weapons and ammo to Ukraine in retaliation for the blacklisting. ‘We cannot support the allocation of another half a billion euros from the European Peace Facility for arms transfers to Ukraine, and we will not give it the green light as long as OTP is on this particular list,’ the country’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, remarked, decrying the singling out of OTP as ‘scandalous and unacceptable’.
“He also denounced Zelensky’s alleged plans to blow up the Druzhba pipeline, saying overall that there was evidence that ‘Ukraine is behaving more and more hostile towards Hungary… such a threat is obviously against Hungary’s sovereignty because the security of the energy supply is a matter of sovereignty… Therefore, if someone calls for Hungary’s energy supply to be made impossible, they are in effect attacking Hungary’s sovereignty.’
“Responding to Hungary’s threat of blocking further aid to Ukraine, one anonymous EU diplomat reportedly told The Guardian that the feud between the two nations comes at a critical time of the conflict…”
The Infamous Secret Bilderberg Meeting
The Dossier wrote on May 18:
“The world’s most powerful and influential geopolitical voices are meeting from Thursday to Sunday in Portugal to navigate several global crises (many of which they’ve helped to facilitate), and oddly enough, the corporate media has no interest in reporting on this secretive gathering of powerful figures.
“The attendees list for this year’s infamous Bilderberg Meetings has just been released, and just like years prior, global heavyweights inundate the 2023 roster. The list includes America and Europe’s top spy chiefs, several heads of state, and some of the world’s most powerful business executives…
“As The Dossier explained in our piece Wednesday: ‘Although it is significantly staffed by publicly elected officials, the discussions that happen during Bilderberg conferences remain a closely guarded secret. Unsurprisingly, this has led many to suspect that the powerful globalist ideologues who attend these closed-door wargaming discussions are up to no good. Organizers defend the secretive nature of the conference by claiming that it allows attendees to speak informally among peers.’
“Bilderberg meetings are held under Chatham House rules, which means that participants ‘are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.’… There remains a media blackout of the Bilderberg Meeting this weekend in the corporate press…”
WHY is this the case???
More Plans for the Third Temple
On May 17, i24 NEWS reported the following:
“Haim Dotan, an acclaimed architect who has won several international awards and also serves as a professor of architecture at leading institutes in China, recently became involved in the ambitious project of designing the third Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
“Known for his extravagant projects, such as the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge in China – renowned as the tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world – Dotan last year joined the right-wing activist and literature scholar Professor Hillel Weiss and pitched a session of the Jerusalem International Conference…
“The conference, scheduled to take place this summer in Jerusalem, will be organized by the Yad Ben Zvi Institute, a prestigious research center in Israel. Dotan’s pitch, ‘Building Jerusalem, the temple city, and the road to peace,’ was divided into three sections.
“The first was dedicated to the transportation and economy of the future ‘temple city’ of the Israeli capital. The next pitch, entitled ‘From Vision to Practice,’ described future plans for the Jerusalem of the Third Temple era, inspired by biblical sources…
“Several questions remain open in the proposal: Who would be in charge of the new temple? What would happen to the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of the most sacred sites in Islam, located on the Temple Mount? What would the consequences of rebuilding a new Jewish temple be amid the complex flashpoint geopolitical atmosphere of the Middle East? The fact that a prestigious architect – who is secular and doesn’t have any political background – is involved in such a project makes this case all the more interesting, if not more tangible.
“Plans to rebuild the third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, are not new but have mostly faced strong resistance. In 1990, a deadly riot erupted on the Mount after a fringe Jewish group tried to lay the cornerstone of a third temple…”
Still, a Third Temple is prophesied to be built in Jerusalem prior to Christ’s return.
Ben Gvir Condemned for Visiting the Temple Mount
Times of Israel wrote on May 21:
“National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visited the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem Sunday, declaring it a demonstration of Israel’s ownership of the flashpoint holy site and drawing fierce condemnations from Jordan, Egypt and other Arab states… ‘We are in charge here,’ Ben Gvir declared as he toured the site. ‘I am happy to go up to the Temple Mount, the most important place for the Jewish people.’…
“Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called Ben-Gvir’s visit a ‘blatant attack’ on the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry called it ‘a provocative step that is condemned, and a dangerous and unacceptable escalation.’ Neighboring Egypt, which like Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel, also issued a condemnation.
“The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry slammed the ‘storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque’… Turkey also called Ben Gvir’s visit a ‘storming’ of the site… The foreign ministries of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which do not have relations with Israel, also released statements fiercely denouncing Ben-Gvir’s trip…”
Naturally, the Biden Administration condemned the move as well. Note the next article.
Biden vs. Israel
Israel 365 News wrote on May 22:
“Rabbi Shimshon Elbaum noted the significance of Ben-Gvir’s visit, saying, ‘[It] gives meaning to the slogan “The Temple Mount is in our hands” which recently turned 56 years old.’…
“The US State Department released a statement saying [the visit] was ‘provocative’… ‘The United States stands firmly… for the preservation of the status quo with respect to holy sites in Jerusalem,’ White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a White House briefing. ‘Any unilateral action that jeopardizes the status quo is unacceptable.’ Jean-Pierre did not explain why a Jew visiting the Temple Mount jeopardized the status quo…
“Hamas, the elected government in Gaza, published a declaration in response that called for an armed response from Arabs living in Israel…”
JTA wrote on May 22:
“Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesman,… also said the Biden Administration was ‘deeply troubled’ by an Israeli decision on Sunday to allow the return of settlers to a segment of the northern West Bank evacuated in 2005 along with settlements in the Gaza Strip… The Biden administration rebuked Israel two months ago for passing legislation that paved the way toward Sunday’s decision… ‘Advancing Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution,’ [according to Miller].
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leading a government with far-right partners in senior roles, including Ben-Gvir, which has been a sticking point with the Biden administration. President Joe Biden has rejected appeals by Netanyahu to invite him to Washington for a White House visit in part because of the actions and rhetoric of Ben-Gvir and others in the far-right bloc.”
The relationship between Biden and Israel continues to deteriorate.
Kenya in Support of Israel
Israel 365 News wrote on May 22:
“Dennis Nthumbi, an evangelical Christian and senior adviser to Kenya’s president, was part of President William Ruto’s delegation when he visited Israel in May. The delegation made headlines when they prayed at the Western Wall, a visit not all political guests choose to make. Nthumbi said in a prayer that the people of Kenya and Israel ‘be united in peace as one people at the Kotel [Western Wall].’
“Kenya does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but Nthumbi referred to the city as
such. Perhaps even more controversial was the location of his announcement: the Temple Mount, where he was accompanied by former Knesset member and Temple Mount Advocate Rabbi Yehudah Glick one week ago. ‘The fact that the Temple Mount is not accessible to people of all faiths should not be tolerated.. ‘It is time that the veil of hypocrisy be lifted, and the issue faced head-on.’”
While Kenya speaks out, the USA and Europe remain silent.
Israel Must Attack Iran?
Israel Today wrote on May 21:
“Israel’s economy minister and the former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, told Channel 14 News at the weekend that it was time to adopt the policy of former US President John F. Kennedy in regards to rocket attacks on the Jewish state. Barkat noted that during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, Kennedy warned that a single missile fired from Cuba toward the United States would result in an American missile strike on Moscow…
“Israel, insisted Barkat, needs to start doing the same in response to rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza. It’s Iran pulling the strings, so why waste time, resources and political capital on operations against Hezbollah and Hamas? That’s just what the ayatollahs want. Instead, Barkat suggested that the next rocket from either of those territories should result in an Israeli missile hitting Tehran.”
A war between Iran and Israel might very well break out.
The Move Away from the US Dollar
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 20:
“Anyone in Iraq who wanted to buy a car or a house this week got a nasty shock. Last Sunday, the Iraqi government announced a ban on doing personal or business deals in US dollars… For decades, the US dollar has been the best currency to have in the Middle East if you don’t have enough dirhams, dinars, riyals or pounds on hand…
“Many Iraqi politicians have complained [that] their country is too dependent on the US dollar… In February… Iraq said it would do business with China using the yuan instead of dollars…
“Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said his country was also ‘open’ to selling oil using different currencies, including the euro and the Chinese yuan. The United Arab Emirates has said it will work with India, using the Indian rupee. Last year, Egypt announced plans to issue bonds — financial securities that help governments raise money — in Chinese yuan. It had already issued bonds in Japanese yen.
“Additionally, several Middle Eastern nations — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Algeria and Bahrain — have said they want to join the geopolitical bloc known as BRICS, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Russia has already said that at an upcoming June meeting, the alliance will discuss the creation of a new kind of currency for cross-border trade between members. [According to other sources, this will be discussed in August].
“Since 2021, the UAE has also been part of a pilot project run by the Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements, a kind of central bank for central banks. This project looks at digital, cross-border payments that might bypass the dollar. Other participants are Thailand, Hong Kong and China… US dollars now make up about 58% of official foreign reserves globally, Bloomberg reported in its story, a fall from 73% in 2001. In the late 1970s, it was 85%…”
Bitcoin.com wrote on May 18:
“Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that Venezuela will shift away from using U.S. dollars in trade, emphasizing that the de-dollarization process is ‘inevitable.’… Commending Zimbabwe for its initiative to issue gold-backed digital currency, he said, ‘Many alternative initiatives to the dollar are emerging in the world…’
“The Venezuelan president, who previously expressed support for Latin America to have one single currency… condemned ‘the political use’ of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and its associated financial system by the U.S. to sanction countries, naming China, Russia, India, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, and Cuba in particular…
“A growing number of countries other than the BRICS nations are pushing to use local currencies instead of the USD. Ten Southeast Asian countries, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), recently agreed to ‘encourage the use of local currencies for economic and financial transactions.’…”
Sadly, this process of de-dollarization will continue…
The New Constitution of the Vatican City State
CNA wrote on May 18:
“… the new law leaves no doubt that the civil government remains very much an absolute monarchy, with the supreme pontiff possessing all ‘legislative, executive, and judicial powers.’…
“Francis’ new constitution is the third Fundamental Law since 1929, the year in which the Vatican City State was founded with the Lateran Treaty… with Pope Francis’ new Fundamental Law, the pope returns to the center of everything… the centralization of the pope’s authority is highlighted in the new constitution by the fact that power is reserved to the pope while other entities are assigned only functions…
“Under the new law, a three-year financial plan approved by the commission is to be submitted ‘directly for the approval of the Supreme Pontiff’ without going through the Vatican economic bodies or the Secretariat of State, as the old law required…
“The Vatican City State remains, in the end, the pope’s domain. Nonetheless, the new law suggests that the city-state is no longer merely considered a support to the Holy See but an entity closer to the secular and modern states, as it has never been in the past…”
The centralization of the pope’s authority and the Vatican City State being patterned after secular states are interesting in light of Revelation 13:11-18.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Why was David called a man after God’s own heart?
There are many different ways that God addresses the members of His Church. Beginning with the twelve that Jesus called, in the New Testament all of those that were a part of God’s Church were termed disciples. The meaning of disciple is a “follower or pupil of a teacher, leader or philosopher.”
Another term Jesus used was brethren, both as a part of a physical family, and as a member of His Church. Using this term, the Church is referred to as a family relationship. We read this in Hebrews 2:10-12: “For it was fitting for Him,” (Jesus), “for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’”
While Jesus calls us brethren, we read in 2 Corinthians 6:18 about God the Father: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” This is certainly a family relationship.
Jesus also used the term friends for His disciples as we read in John 15:14-15: “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” The term friend is also used of Abraham. As we read in Isaiah 41:8, “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.”
So, God’s people are His family and friends. However, there is one person in the Bible whom God addresses in a unique way, and that, of course, was David.
This expression was first mentioned in 1 Samuel chapter 13 after king Saul did not wait for Samuel to arrive and instead made an offering on his own authority and hence disobeyed the commandment of God. 1 Samuel 13:14 reads, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
So, God saw that king Saul had failed in this requirement for obedience to God. And this was only one of the many times Saul failed to obey God.
This expression “A man after My own heart” is also found quoted in Acts 13:22 where Paul, in the local synagogue at Antioch, was relating the history of the children of Israel leading up to the coming of a Savior, that is, Jesus. Acts 13:22 states: “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom He also gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” This passage adds “Who will do all My will” to the statement in 1 Samuel 13:14.
At the time God said this, David was assumed to have been around eighteen years old, but his thoughts while shepherding would have given God a very good idea of David’s character. In fact, many of the Psalms reflect on how David thought about God.
One Psalm in particular shows that David understood the purpose God had in mind for man. This would reflect how David thought while he was shepherding in his earlier days. Psalm 8:3-6 reads: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.”
As well as reflecting on God’s purpose for man, David had a great love for God’s law. A good example of that is in Psalm 119:47-48: “And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love. My hands also I will lift up to your commandments, Which I love. And I will meditate on Your statutes.”
Another characteristic David had was a great faith and confidence in God. When he was about to face Goliath, he was certain that God would deliver him. There was no wavering or doubt. 1 Samuel 17:37 states: “Moreover David said, ‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’”
A further characteristic was his thankfulness toward God. A typical example among many is Psalm 69:30. “I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
David himself was humble. He had had great success in battle but when he was offered Saul’s daughter to be his wife, his response was, “Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing I am a poor and lightly esteemed man?” (See 1 Samuel 18:23.) He was still humble at the end of his life. In 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 we see David’s humble attitude after God had refused to allow him to build God’s temple: “Then king David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: ‘Who am I, O LORD God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree, O LORD God.’”
And at times when he made serious mistakes that cost the lives of others, he had the integrity to take responsibility for his actions. When Saul killed the priests in the town of Nob by means of Doeg, David acknowledged that his action had caused their deaths. 1 Samuel 22:21-22. “And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the LORD’s priests. So David said to Abiathar, ‘I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house.’”
But even with God’s appreciation of him, David made a number of mistakes in his life, some very costly both to himself and the children of Israel. One of these mistakes was when he committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and when he subsequently murdered Uriah the Hittite. This event cost the life of Uriah and some other valiant men who died during this murder. 2 Samuel 11:17 states: “Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.” The son born because of this adultery also died soon after his birth.
Another very costly mistake was when king David numbered the armies of Israel. Even Joab suggested to David that this was not a good idea. 2 Samuel 24:3 reads: “And Joab said to the king, ‘Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of the lord my king see it. But why does the lord my king desire this thing?’” This numbering of Israel cost the lives of seventy thousand men. Again, David acknowledged it was his fault that these people died (see 2 Samuel 24:17).
When David was offered Saul’s daughter, Saul required a dowry of one hundred Philistine foreskins for her hand in marriage, thinking David would be killed while killing Philistines to collect these foreskins. 1 Samuel 18:25 states: “Then Saul said, ‘Thus you shall say to David: “The king does not desire any dowry but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.”’ But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.” David, in response, killed two hundred Philistines and presented their foreskins to king Saul.
As described later, he was a man who had shed blood many times and as such God did not want him to build the temple of God. This is explained in 1 Chronicles 22:7-8. “And David said to Solomon: ‘My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.”’” It was left to Solomon to build the house of God.
There was even an example where David was going to kill all the men of a family of the rich man Nabal. David and his men had protected Nabal’s livestock while they were avoiding king Saul. David sent his men to ask Nabal to share some of his meat with them. Nabal refused, and insulted David, which made David so angry that he was prepared to kill all the men of the household of Nabal. However, Abigail, Nabal’s wife, heard this and came to meet David with a gift of food and pleaded with David not to kill them all. She reminded him of how he would feel in the future if he went ahead with his plan. 1 Samuel 25:30-31 shows her reasoning: “And it shall come to pass, when the LORD has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”
David took heed of her pleading, and did not kill all the men which in some ways was similar to when Moses pleaded with God not to destroy the Israelites after the incident of the golden calf. Exodus 32:11-12 shows this pleading: “Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: ‘LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, “He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.’” Exodus 32:14 shows us the result of this pleading: “So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.” In both the case of David and of God, they listened to the pleading and did not kill those they were intending to.
So, what did king David do that gave him the title of a man after God’s own heart? After all, he was even promised that his kingdom would last forever (compare 2 Samuel 7:16), and we read in the books of the prophets, that he would ultimately rule over all the tribes of Israel.
There were at least three particular events in David’s life that showed God that he had the potential to rule forever.
As was related previously, it is generally believed that Samuel anointed David king when he was about 18 years old. For much of the next 12 years, David was hiding from Saul in the wilderness, or outside of Israel, so he would not be killed. Saul had already made a number of attempts to kill David. David did not know how long this trial would last, or what event would end it, but had faith in God that God would keep His promise that he would be king one day.
To show the importance of this time in David’s life, God used most of sixteen chapters in the book of 1 Samuel to describe it. With such a large amount written, it is obvious that God thought this time in David’s life was very important for our understanding.
The first mentioned is when Saul took 3000 chosen men to capture David in the wilderness of En Gedi. This is probably quite a few years into the 12-year trial that David was experiencing.
Beginning in 1 Samuel 24:1-6, we read: “Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, ‘Take note! David is in the wilderness of En Gedi.’ Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, ‘This is the day of which the LORD said to you, “Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.”’” Actually, the LORD had not told David this, but his men were encouraging him to end his trial. If he killed Saul, he would no longer be an outcast and could take up the position of king immediately.
Continuing: “And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, ‘The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” David used the term “The LORD’s anointed” twice in one sentence, probably reminding even himself that Saul was the LORD’s anointed.
After Saul went on his way, David followed him, probably at a considerable distance since he could not trust him, and said tactfully in 1 Samuel 24:9. “…‘Why do you listen to the words of men who say, “Indeed David seeks your harm?”’” They both knew that it was Saul and not his men who thought David was an opponent to Saul. 1 Samuel 24:12 shows David’s attitude when he said, “Let the LORD judge between you and me, and let the LORD avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.” He trusted God and did not get ahead of God’s Will. He had steadfast faith in God’s promise. He knew if God said He would do something; He would do it. The question he had was when?
At the end of this encounter, Saul admitted that he was wrong, and asked David not to cut off his descendants when he became king. 1 Samuel 24:22 informs us, “So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.” Even though Saul admitted error, David still did not trust him.
The next event occurred sometime later when Saul and his three thousand chosen men went to the wilderness of Ziph chasing David to kill him. David saw where Saul and his men were encamped, with Saul in the midst, surrounded by his men.
1 Samuel 26:6-10 reads: “Then David answered, and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, ‘Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?’ And Abishai said, ‘I will go down with you.’ So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him. Then Abishai said to David, ‘God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!’ But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?’ David said furthermore, ‘As the LORD lives, The LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed….’”
It is stated later that a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen on them (compare 1 Samuel 26:12, last part).
David went to the other side, a great distance between them and called out to Abner, and woke up the camp of Saul. It was a great distance because David still did not trust Saul. He did not know how Saul would react to being woken up. David then explained to Saul once again that he could have killed him, but refused to do so (verse 23). In 1 Samuel 26:25, last part, we read: “So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.” David still could not go home to be with his family.
The last event referring to Saul and David is recorded in a long passage in 2 Samuel, chapter 1. When king Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle, David did not rejoice at the news, but actually executed the man who claimed to have killed Saul and was after a reward. David understood the principle in Proverbs 24:17-18. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles, Lest the LORD see it and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”
David actually lamented over the death of Saul (who was also his father-in-law) and Jonathan (who was his best friend), and he composed the Song of the Bow to be taught to the children of Judah.
There is actually a principle that before a man can be allowed to rule, he must be able to be ruled. David learned this for around twelve years while he was fleeing for his life. He honored Saul as his king even though he could not trust him. God had already rejected Saul as king, and David had already been anointed as future king (compare 1 Samuel 16:1). Still, David did not take the kingdom from Saul by force, but he waited for God to deal with Saul.
Yes, David committed some terrible sins that cost many lives. After he killed Uriah the Hittite, God told him he would not have peace for all his physical life and even some from his own house would rise against him. Even sin repented of may still involve consequences.
But David repented wholeheartedly each time and God accepted his repentance and totally forgave him.
Luke adds something in the book of Acts 13:22 which we can re-read: “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’”
Even though David sinned, he repented wholeheartedly (compare Psalm 51). His heart was loyal to God, which cannot be said about many subsequent kings (compare 1 Kings 11:4; 15:3).
So ultimately, God’s belief in David proved to be correct. David had shown by his actions and repentance that he was a man after God’s own heart.
To sum up, David had a number of characteristics which were pleasing to God. He had total faith in God to protect him as shown in the example of Goliath. He trusted God in that what God had promised He would perform, that David, one day, would be ruling as king. He never pre-empted God. He had love for Saul and Jonathan. He was humble to the end of his life. Because of his integrity, he took ownership of his mistakes, and repented thoroughly and asked for God’s forgiveness, and at all times he worshipped God, as we see in his writings. And what would be difficult for many under the circumstances, David addressed Saul as “My lord the king” (see 1 Samuel 24:8). Considering he was speaking to the one who was trying to kill him, this shows a great respect for the authority God had placed over him.
So when we study David’s life and how he interacted with God during it, we can see that he was, indeed, a man after God’s heart and did all that was expected of him. By his faith and actions, he set an example for all of us of the kind of attitude that is required to be a man after God’s own heart.
Lead Writer: Paul Niehoff (Australia)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“More Plans for the Third Temple,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
An acclaimed architect becomes involved in the ambitious project of designing the third temple in Jerusalem; a controversial minister visits the Temple Mount and declares Israel’s ownership of the site where the first and second temple stood; and a red heifer appears to be qualified, according to Jewish Orthodox views, to be sacrificed in a year and a half on the Mount of Olives by “pure” priests. Do these developments point at the coming of the Messiah?
“Was es bedeutet, der Erste zu sein” is the title of the new German sermon for this Sabbath, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “What It Means to Be the First.”
“Eine neue Schöpfung durch Gottes Geist der Kraft,“ is the title of the new German sermon for Pentecost, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “A New Creation Through God’s Spirit of Power.”
“Das wahre Fundament,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Robert Muhr, is now posted. Title in English: “The Real Foundation.”
“The Little Things,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Having the right kind of faith is a prerequisite to living a life that pleases God and a requirement for salvation. On the face of it, one might think that the importance of faith means that it is an attribute reserved for the most serious of situations. However, faith in God to carry out His will ought to penetrate every single aspect of our lives – even in the seemingly small and insignificant events.
“Are You Watching?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
People are about to face the end of this age and the unprecedented events revealed in the Word of God. Are you watching and will you be among the very, very few who will be judged ready for what is coming?
How This Work is Financed
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